By Alex Altman, contributing writer
Online customer reviews influence an astounding 93 percent of all purchase decisions, according to Podium. And yet, many small businesses don’t actively solicit reviews. This not only costs them revenue but also chokes their access to new customers.
Many consumers are suspicious of companies they’ve never done business with before. This is especially true of Millennials, who won’t make any decision without first consulting with the masses. Reviews help alleviate this sense of distrust. In fact, 74 percent of consumers say positive reviews make them trust local businesses more, according to BrightLocal.
Positive reviews give your business credibility and make new customers more attainable. Here are some tips for getting people to share their positive experiences online:
Let’s Face It: There are countless sites where customers can review your business, but you’ll probably get the best return if you ask them to review it on Facebook. Not only is Facebook the biggest social platform with nearly 2 billion active users, but it’s now a top source of referral traffic. If you don’t have a Facebook business page, what are you waiting for?
Simplify the Process: Another benefit of Facebook? Your customers are already there. Instead of signing up for and learning how to navigate a niche review site, your customers can simply review your business in between liking pictures. The last thing you want is for your customers to feel like writing your review is work.
Yelp with Caution: Yelp is arguably the most popular review site, but asking for reviews here can backfire. Yelp is very sensitive about “review manipulation” and if it sees a flurry of non-active users suddenly posting five-star reviews, it’s going to raise a red flag. If you’re intent on using Yelp, make sure you’re not violating its policy.
Quid Pro NO: Incentivizing reviews with coupons, contest entries and other benefits is an alluring idea. Avoid this trap. As long as you’re courteous, you’ll always find customers who will review your business for free. These are the customers who you want to share their experiences. Plus, you don’t want customers thinking that your reviews were bought.
Get the Timing Right: When you ask for a review is almost as important as how you ask for it. According to Yotpo, customers are 33 percent more likely to write reviews on Monday than Saturday. Additionally, review response rates increase by almost 20 percent between 1 and 3 p.m. So, if you’re going to ask for a review after the transaction, plan accordingly.